"Remember the Lost," a poster
on the wall at Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by James
Hardin, September 19, 2001.
September 11, 2001, Documentary Project
Call for Participation by Peggy Bulger and Ann Hoog
Attention all Folklorists, Oral Historians, and other cultural
The date of September 11, 2001, will be remembered by us all forever.
At a time of national crisis and mourning, one wonders what positive
action should or could be taken? As folklorists, what might we
contribute to the future?
On December 8, 1941, Alan Lomax (then in charge of the Library
of Congress's, Archive of Folk Song) sent an urgent message to
fieldworkers all around the country to collect "person on the street" reactions
to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war by the
United States. Among those fieldworkers who responded were Bob
Allen, Fletcher Collins, John Henry Faulk, Lewis Jones, Vance Randolph,
and Robert Sonkin. Recordings were made in all parts of the United
States in which people expressed their immediate reactions to the
attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. declaration of war. Interviews
were conducted with shoemakers, electricians, janitors, oilmen,
cab drivers, housewives, students, soldiers, and physicians.
People of many ethnic groups and ages are represented in these
interviews, expressing their opinions on the political, social,
financial, and miliary aspects of the United States involvement
in the war.
These field recordings were sent to the Library of Congress where
they were made into a series of radio programs and distributed
to schools and radio stations. The radio programs and field interviews
are still housed in the Archive of Folk Culture at the American
Folklife Center, where they comprise an invaluable aural resource
and are part of our American legacy. The Center has continued to
make these unique recordings available to researchers and media
producers (most recently by Sound Portrait's American Talkers series
for National Public Radio).
The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is interested
in partnering with folklorists and other cultural specialists throughout
the nation to provide a similar service today. We call for all
of those who are interested in participating to use their training
in a positive way during this time of national crisis and mourning.
We ask you to document the immediate reactions of average Americans
in your own communities to the September eleventh terrorist attack
and to what many have called "an act of war." What were they doing
when they heard? How have their lives been changed? We are asking
those who are interested to document these reactions on audio tape
(all formats accepted).
These interviews will be deposited in the Center's Archive of
Folk Culture, where they will be preserved for and made available
to future generations. Time is of the essence. If you need release
forms or have any questions please contact the American Folklife
Center: (202) 707-5510; [email protected] . Thank you in advance
for all those who will participate.
Peggy Bulger, Director
Ann Hoog, Reference Specialist
American Folklife Center
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20540-4610
Release Form for the Person Interviewed - Release
Form for Collectors